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Freedom in the Air’s founder Gautam Lewis has challenged himself to fly around Great Britain to raise awareness about the new ‘Freedom Control’ which is almost ready for launch. This tour planted the seeds around the UK letting flying schools know about the new controls. This video is from day 2, sector 2 – Islay to Blackpool. You may watch the previous days by clicking the following links Day 1 – Cranfield – Edinburgh and Day2 sector 1 – Edinburgh to Islay.
Londoner Gautam Lewis challenged himself to complete a 2,000 mile flight around Britain to raise awareness about Feeedom in the Air that teaches people with disabilities to fly.
Freedom tour of Britian is to raise awareness about the new “Freedom control” that will enable those with lower linb disabilites to fly aeroplanes without the need for their feet. The hand controls have been developed in partnership with Cranfield University.
This video is from day two of four, Sector one – Edinburgh to Islay in Scotland. To watch the film from day one, please follow this link:
FITA is committed to opening horizons for people with disabilities so that they can fly higher socially, physically and professionally. Flying aeroplanes makes you feel alive and gives you a sense of freedom, of being liberated from disability with nothing to hold you back.
Disabled flying school Freedom in the Air (FITA) with support from Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation has invited 20 people aged between nine and 19 to learn how to pilot a plane. The young people all have some form of disability and are cared for by Friends of Bright Eyes (FOBE), a Luton based charity focusing on the needs of children with disabilities from the Muslim Community.
Within Britain there are over 6 million full time carers, but the work of this forgotten army goes unpaid. Yasmin has been dedicated to gifting many lives with unconditional love and support. Looking after her stepdaughter who suffers from muscular dystrophy took up a lot of time and energy, but Yasmin’s support and commitment to care for those less fortunate did not stop there. In search for other children who have disabilities, with a vision to set up a centre which provides respite care. Yasmin launched Friends of Bright Eyes as a voluntary charity. With minimal funds it was very difficult to keep the charity operating. A wife, mother and full time carer, Yasmin never looked back, always went that extra mile to help and 14 years later the charity which Yasmin started at home, now accommodates for over 50 children a week.
The hugely popular Freedom Wings days are designed to give youngsters with disabilities what is very often their first experience of flight in a light aircraft. Just to see the expressions on the children’s faces is evidence enough of the enjoyment and satisfaction they get from this new experience and their pleasure also guarantees a happy day for the whole family. We try, when possible, to ensure that brothers and sisters and parents get the opportunity to fly together at these events when their involvement is instrumental in siblings also having this exciting opportunity, Freedom is definitely “key”.
VARIETY CLUB AND FREEDOM IN THE AIR LAUNCHES FIRST NATIONAL PRIVATE PILOTS LICENCE SCHEME FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Variety Club the children’s charity in association with Freedom in the Air and Cranfield Flying School this week selected the first young person with a disability for a unique scholarship that will allow a young person to achieve a National private pilots licence (NPPL) over the summer holidays.
Shelbi Grist (17) suffers from McCune Albright Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder as well as Polistic Fibres Displacia, a rare bone disease and Focal Nodular Hyperplacia, a liver complaint. Even though Shelbi has a rafter of disabilities she has never let this stop her fulfilling her dreams and is currently activity involved in sport having received her National Diploma of Sport and is in a national wheelchair basket ball team while in full time education studying Sports Therapy. Based in Portsmouth, Shelbi travels all over the UK to play basket ball and will be attending her pilot training twice a week for the next 10 weeks.
Based in Cranfield Airport near Milton Keynes, the scholarship was open to all young people between the ages for 17 – 19 with the primary aim to simply enable disabled young people the opportunity to realise their full potential through the pleasure and thrill of flying. After many weeks of searching for the right candidate Shelbi Grist was selected.
Shelbi will complete over 40 hours of dual and solo flying as well as intensive exams to achieve her National Private Pilot’s Licence which will give her full command of an aeroplane and in doing so change her life.
The programme has been funded by Freedom in the Air, Cranfield Flying School, Pooleys Flight Equipment and the De Vere Venues, part of the De Vere Group/MWB who have to date raised over £1.3m on behalf of the Variety Club through staff fundraising and corporate events.
Keith Andrews Chairman of Variety At Work commented “I am so proud to be able to offer this unique opportunity to such a fantastic candidate. I would like to thank Gautam Lewis at Freedom in The Air and all the pilots at Cranfield for making this a reality for Shelbi. Huge thanks to Freedom in the Air, Cranfield Flying School and De Vere Venues for funding this scheme. We wish Shelbi good luck.”
FITA founder Gautam Lewis, who uses crutches after contracting polio as a child in India, wants to show people disability is not a barrier to achievement. As an orphan growing up in the care of Mother Teresa, he believes that his calling in life is to help others less fortunate and celebrate in the spirit that the sky’s the limit.
He said: “I thought maybe I should do something positive about supporting disabled people, help them learn new skills and push them to a new level of confidence so that they can have opportunities.
“It’s trying to show what we can do regardless of disability.”
Together we intend to show that anyone can reach for the skies, and achieve virtually anything, sometimes with only the very smallest amount of support.
On SATURDAY 23rd JULY 2011 Freedom in the Air (FITA) hosted an ‘Introduction to Aviation’ day beginning from Cranfield Airport, UK. Twenty youngsters from The Forces Children’s Trust (FCT) had the chance of a lifetime to experience the freedom of flight, in the hope that it may expand their horizons when they attended the “Freedom Wings” day. FCT is a charity devoted to helping children whose father or mother has died, or has been seriously injured, whilst serving as a member of the British Armed Forces.
Freedom in the Air is a non-profit organisation and we depend on supporters like you to help us care for people with disabilities and those from complicated backgrounds. Please consider making a donation today.